Hipstamatic D-Series

So Synthetic, LLC released its new app last Tuesday, the recently-rumored Hipstamatic D-Series.

I didn’t download it right away due to the review in the app store and the 2-star rating, but went ahead and succumbed to curiosity late Wednesday.

So Hipstamatic D is a strange and interesting sort of camera app for the iPhone. It operates sort of like a disposable film camera: you need to shoot all 24 exposures before you see any of the results. This is an intereseting and novel approach to iPhoneography, and to digital photography in general, and one that I appreciate. Additionally, individuals can share a set of exposures, sort of like passing a cheap camera around all night, and everyone who participated in the shooting gets a copy of all photos at the end, though I have yet to try this feature out.

The app comes with two  ‘cameras’ (in the original app, there was only one, but Synthetic quickly updated the app with a second, and a third is provided free if you connect the app to your Facebook account) that each offer a different effect. There are 3 additional cameras available for purchase at $.99 for 9 cameras (.11/camera), $1.99 for 36 cameras (.05/camera), and $4.99 for 99 cameras (.05/camera), and I expect that additional cameras will be released, especially if this app takes off in any measurable way.[i]

I shot a “Dreamy” camera (one of the add-ons) in Old Town Lewisville yesterday. Here are the results:

Ok. First, my likes:

  1. I take my time with Hipstamatic D. I take more care to frame shots get my body and the phone in position to take the shot I want.
  2. (In theory) The ability to share with friends and even, perhaps, complete strangers is quite interesting and somewhat novel, and can see quite a bit of potential in this, though this is only in theory.
  3. I like the effect in the Dreamy camera and assume (based on my experience with the Hipstamatic app) that the others are equally pleasant, though I don’t really know yet: I have 5 cameras in process, but only finished shooting the Dreamy one. Oh well.
  4. The ui is as easy to grasp as any app can be, with well-defined ‘buttons’ (though I only realized what the slider thing was for about halfway through shooting the Dreamy camera, and only realized you could choose what sticker to apply to the camera face when I started up my 6th testor).
And now for the problems I see.
  1. Unlike many app store reviewers, I’m not particularly bothered by tossing out a couple of bucks for a few different looks. What does bother me is this: full resolution images are only available from paid cameras (and this must be activated in the settings); the free cameras are stuck at a measly 600 x 600, which is fine for sharing on the web, but largely useless for printing.
  2. The viewfinder is small, and does not expand like the viewfinder in the Hipstamatic app, which makes precise framing difficult.
I sincerely hope Synthetic will address these in a future update, as #1 will make it unlikely that I will shoot much with any of the free cameras.
Ok. There’s my take on the Hipstamatic D. Overall, I give it maybe 3 stars. It’s an interesting and well-executed app, with some very unfortunate aspects rom a usability standpoint.
Update: I posted a set of shots from the MegaZuck 84 camera, if you’re interested in checking out the effects.
Update 2: Synthetic updated Hipstamatic D sometime last night. It now includes full resolution for all cameras, and includes four new cameras with unlimited rolls for $.99 each. A great rundown of the features and a much more competent review is available from Life in LoFi, and you should go check it out. I went ahead and purchased all four of the new cameras and will post results when I have them.

[i]Given my spendthrifty nature, I went ahead and ponied up $5.97 for 36 of each of the extra cameras, and will likely do the same for any future releases. Don’t ask me why.

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